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Visitor area revitalization project gets underway at Fahnestock State Park

April 26, 2013—Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park’s Canopus Lake visitor and recreation area is in store for a major overhaul as renovation begins this month. The project is being funded through a public-private partnership led by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Open Space Institute’s Alliance for New York State Parks program, the Taconic Regional Commission of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks. 

To date, $825,000 in public and private funding has been identified and raised toward a $1.2 million goal that will help improve and update run-down public facilities at the park’s swimming beach and “Winter Park” area including the café space, ski and snowshoe rental area and restrooms.

Of the $825,000, half has been raised through private donations, while the remaining $400,000 was secured through a New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant awarded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Hudson Valley Regional Economic Development Council.

The first project in this multi-phase initiative will remodel and winterize the public bathhouse and update the lifeguard facilities. Following completion of this initial phase, rehabilitation work will begin on the main courtyard, café space and winter recreation area. All facets of the project will improve energy and water efficiencies at the site. Additional plans for the park include naturalizing the swimming beach and the trails and pathways in the area, improving sustainability features, installing a fully accessible fishing pier and enhancing recreational and play opportunities at the park.

“The planned improvements at the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park are a great example of how public dollars can leverage private funding to improve parks and recreational facilities in our communities. I’m grateful to the Alliance for New York State Parks; Lucy Waletzky and the Taconic Regional Parks Commission; and the Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands state parks for pushing this project forward with the assistance of the Hudson Valley Regional Economic Development Council. I look forward to building on this achievement throughout the state park system,” said New York State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey.

“The Open Space Institute has a long track record in preserving the treasured and irreplaceable landscapes of the Hudson Highlands. Today, through the Alliance, this commitment to stewardship extends to improving the public’s access and recreational enjoyment at New York’s state parks,” said Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Alliance for New York State Parks. “We are proud of the partnership that has come together to restore this spectacular park and hope the community will join in this effort and create a renewed and exciting public space for all to enjoy.”

“From its creation, through the generosity of the Fahnestock family, to the continued protection of the park through the work of OSI and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, the success of Fahnestock State Park has been built on private generosity and a shared commitment to preservation,” said Dr. Lucy Waletzky, chair of the New York State Council of Parks and the Taconic Regional Commission. “This partnership and efforts to expand private support for the park build on this past success.”

“The improvements being made as part of this project will provide lasting and appreciable benefits to the community and the hundreds of thousands of people who use this park each year. Turner Construction Company is proud to be among the companies and public agencies who joined to upgrade Fahnestock State Park to preserve this wonderful setting and create a better experience for its patrons,” said Peter Davoren, president and chief executive officer of Turner Construction Company, which provided an important lead grant to the project.

“Fahnestock is a regional treasure enjoyed by nearly 300,000 people a year - hikers, campers, cross country skiers, snow shoers, bird enthusiasts and families. The improvements to the Canopus Beach area will significantly improve our visitors experience and comfort,” said Katrina Shindledecker, president of the Friends of Fahnestock and Hudson Highlands State Parks.

"I'm very pleased that through this public and private partnership, Fahnestock State Park will get the revitalization it needs and deserves," said Senator Terry Gipson. "Even better, so many families and individuals will keep on enjoying all that the park offers. I look forward to continuing to support these efforts."

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef said, “Fahnestock is a treasure and a tourism destination for families and fans of the great outdoors who live in the New York Metropolitan Area. I am so pleased that this partnership is providing us the ability to maintain and enhance the public facilities at our State Park so that it can continue to be a go-to place for outdoor activity year round. Congratulations are in order for all those who have worked so hard to bring this project to fruition.”

“New York State is blessed to have 179 state parks, two of which fall in New York’s 94thAssembly District (FDR and Fahnestock). Fahnestock State Park is an essential part of the community in Putnam County, and I’m glad New York State has decided to continue its investment in the park,” said Assemblyman Steve Katz. “Canopus Beach may reside in Putnam County, but its reach goes far beyond Putnam. Hundreds, if not thousands of New York City residents come here to spend their weekend because they know what we have here is special.  Appalachian Trail Hikers from all over the world come through here annually and consistently praise this park.  I’m proud to support this project, and am excited to see it completed.”

Less than an hour from New York City, Fahnestock State Park offers more than 14,000 acres of protected forests, lakes and streams. The park’s original 2,400 acres were donated in 1929 by Dr. Earnest Fahnestock as a memorial to his brother Clarence. Today, the park welcomes nearly 300,000 visitors a year.

For decades the Open Space Institute has recognized New York’s Hudson Highlands as a priority landscape. Through multiple large-scale acquisitions, OSI has added nearly 7,000 acres to Fahnestock State Park.

Today, spurred by its mission of public land stewardship and the challenge of a $1 billion capital backlog at New York’s state parks, OSI, through its Alliance for New York State Parks program, continues to be a leader of New York’s natural resource conservation efforts. The Alliance’s goal is to supports state parks though private fundraising, advocacy and fostering partnerships for the long-term benefits of state parks and park patrons.

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